Some 190 aspiring footballers will be participating in the third staging of the Next Generation Valencia Football Camp, which is to last from April 1 to April 5 at the University of Technology (UTech) Football Stadium.
The camp, which chooses players to train with Valencia Football Club in Spain every year, will provide 15 hours of intense practical and theoretical training sessions with coaches from the Valencia Academy.
The camp will once more cater to two age groups: seven to11 years in the morning sessions and 12 to 17 in the afternoon sessions.
Out of the 190 spots that are available to both boys and girls, 20 were given to the main sponsor, Scotiabank, while the remaining 170 were purchased by the general public at $15,000 each.
Speaking at a press briefing, on March 30 at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley said Jamaicans have a natural passion for football, and it is important to harness the skills and capabilities from the earliest age possible.
“It is important to have that passion being developed in ways where standards can be put in place and where youngsters can learn the game in the true technical sense, so that later on, they won’t have the bad habits (they would have) developed as youngsters,” she said.
The Minister highlighted that sports is not only recreation and competition, “but it is development of careers for young people and opportunities for them to go overseas and play, and for scouts to come here and look at what talents exist."
Ms. Neita-Headley said the programme is another example of the sterling relationship that Jamaica and Spain have shared over the years.
Head Coach, Valencia Football Academy, Juan Vicente Munoz De Morales Da Silva said it is a privilege to assist in the training of young talents in the island.
“For us, it’s an honour to come here and share all the football knowledge that we have. It’s a pleasure to be here for the third time and we hope that it will be the beginning of a long relationship,” he said.
For his part, National Senior Assistant Coach, Jamaica Football Federation, Alfredo Montesso, said the camp will assist in ensuring that the participants are taught the proper techniques which will be vital to their career development later on in life.
Technical Director, Next Generation Sports Team, Andre Virtue, said the sport of football stands to benefit tremendously from the camp, as several participants who have benefitted from the camp received additional training in Spain.
The camp’s success is evident, as two scholarship winners have been called back to train in Spain and a third scholarship recipient is currently living and training in Spain.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter